Emerson Daley is a pretty savvy business woman for a 6-year-old. She raised $1,100 at her first ever lemonade stand in just three hours.
“People like lemonade and I just thought that lemonade would be good,” Emerson Daley said.
The plan had a bit more to it than mere lemonade. Taped to the her stand was a neon pink sign that read: “Raising money for the all-abilities playground so my brother and sister have somewhere to play.”
The playground Emerson was referring to is a project being constructed at Dennis H. Rinderer Park in Highland. The play set is designed to allow for more accessible play for handicapped children and parents.
Emerson is one of three children in the Daley family. Her elder siblings are a set of twins named Elijah, 9, and Kandence, 9.
“They have disabilities so they can’t play on any other playground,” Emerson said.
Elijah has cerebral palsy and is primarily wheelchair-bound, while Kadence is blind and on the autism spectrum. When the playground was originally proposed, the Daley’s were proponents of the project and were asked to help design the area by Director of Parks and Recreation Mark Rosen.
Since its inception, the community has rallied to help raise cash for the $250,000 playground, and Emerson was no stranger to the cause.
“I was very proud of her. She does a lot for her brother and sister here at home. She helps us a lot. So this was something that she wanted to do,” said Angie Daley, Emerson’s mother.
Emerson made 7 1/2 gallons of lemonade, baked a few racks of cookies, rallied her schoolmates, and posted to Facebook. On July 28, they set up shop at the intersection of Wilderness Lane and Pocahontas Road.
“It was so not even a great location,” Daley said.
Throughout the day the stand saw many different faces, and Kandence played the part of stand manager. While the lemonade kept flowing, the only trip that had to be made back to the house was to grab a cowbell for the celebration of an $100 glass of lemonade.
“A lot of people came and it made me think that this was a very good idea,” Emerson said.
On top of Emerson’s contribution, the family has launched a GoFundMe page named All-Abilities Playground Equipment. The Daleys hope is to raise $20,000 so they may buy a wheel-chair accessible merry-go-round in honor of Elijah and Kandence.
“Just the idea of not having to lift Elijah out of his wheelchair to put him on something is really appealing to us,” Daley said.
So far, Daley said they have been overwhelmed and humbled by the community’s support. Through private donations, the lemonade stand, and the GoFundMe page they have been able to raise about $12,000.
“We’ve just been overwhelmed and humbled by the community for the supports of this endeavor,” Daley said.
And for Emerson, Elijah and Kandence, the day the playground is complete will be sweeter than lemonade.
“Because my brother and sister can have somewhere to play and that if they wouldn’t have built that playground they wouldn’t have anywhere to play,” Emerson said.